Improv class and the creative process

A photo by juliejordanscott on flickr

The creative process — photo by juliejordanscott on flickr

My computer desktop background has this quote from Sylvia Plath:

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

It’s fitting for today because I feel like nothing interesting could ever come from this head of mine.

I went to a local improv class last night. It wasn’t great (I mean, I wasn’t great). I seized up a lot. I probably ruined a few scenes. I was awkward at points. Despite my clunkyness, I’ve been enjoying the class because I’m learning things about my creative process, and I’m finding these revelations to be true in writing as well.

1. Creativity seems to come in the moment, *while* I’m doing whatever it is I’m doing. Planning to be creative doesn’t work for me at all. If I think too hard about it, the result is often terrible. It seems that I just have to jump in, wherever that may be, and hope for the best.

2. It’s easier, and more comfortable, and less scary to not try, but it is rarely as rewarding.

3. Sometimes Often, I suck horribly. But there’s something magical about that microscopic glimpse of other-worldly creative genius that peeks out once in a while; it catches you by surprise. I think those glimpses are why people continue to work painstakingly at their craft.

4. Creative pursuits are good for me. Even if it’s only because I’m stretching myself that much further. Even if it’s only to exercise a little self-discipline. Even if it’s simply because I said I would. Even if it’s only to say I did it. Actually doing something–anything–creative is, I believe, inherently valuable.

5. Sometimes I’m not as bad as I think I am (see: Sylvia Plath quote). Sometimes I am my own worst enemy. It has happened a few times at improv class when someone just nails a scene, and then refuses to acknowledge his or her comedic genius. I’ve often complimented people and they just reiterate how much they sucked. It’s not even false modesty; they just don’t see it. And that’s been good for me to see. Not to say that I’m brilliant and just don’t realize it, but maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to discount everything I produce as complete rubbish.

Not much else to say here, except I’m glad I sat down to write. It is good for me.